SC considers ban on texting while driving

Published: Mar. 9, 2012 at 12:32 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The next time you text and drive you may hear police sirens. The House approved the measure 93-15 on Wednesday. It faces another perfunctory vote before heading to the Senate.

AAA says that distracted driving causes 8,000 car crashes per day and that 87 percent of people polled support a ban on texting and driving.

"I'm worried," said Heather Smith, a mother of three. "I drive my kids all the time."

Smith and her husband Wayne have three children, and want to keep it that way.

"You can't be distracted while driving you're driving a multi-multi thousand pound vehicle," Wayne Smith said. "You have to have perfect control of it. If you can't pay attention while doing it you can do a lot of damage to a lot of families very quickly."

The Smith family is from Canada where they say a texting and driving law has been in effect for the last two years. Heather Smith says she is hopeful a similar bill to ban the habit in South Carolina moves forward in the state house.

The texting and driving bill didn't pass unanimously and some think the wording is too broad. One of those representatives is Dwight Loftis from Greenville.

"While I do not encourage texting and driving, texting is considered a distraction, and I believe sufficient law and penalties already exist that address distracted driving," Loftis said."

The fine in South Carolina would also be $100 for your first offense. This bill would make texting a primary offense while the car is moving, which means law enforcement would be able to pull you over if they see you texting, but, when the car is stopped, you would be able to text.

Smith believes anything that will drive texting out from behind the wheel is a good thing.

"Ninety years you drove without doing anything except putting your hands on the wheel and paying attention to what was around you and I think we need to get back to that," Smith said. "There's too many distractions on the road already."

The House sent the bill to the Senate Thursday and it could be on their calendar as early as next week.

Copyright WCSC 2012. All rights reserved. WTOC and the AP contributed to this report.